Bitcoin Taproot Speedy Trial Begins, But No Lock-in In This Epoch

Source: Adobe/Worawut

Bitcoin (BTC)‘s long-awaited Taproot upgrade – its biggest upgrade since SegWit in 2017 – has been kicked off with the (somewhat contested) Speedy Trial – giving miners three months to signal readiness to enforce the upgrade. The first of six epochs has failed to lock in the upgrade.

On May 1, the network saw another mining difficulty adjustment, which signalled the beginning of the ‘will it-will it not activate’ phase of the Taproot upgrade, a proposed protocol upgrade that should improve Bitcoin’s privacy and flexibility.

Simply said, Speedy Trial’s aim is to allow the upgrade activation attempt to fail or succeed quickly – making a difference between no mandatory activation and the guarantee that taproot would be activated.

The mining difficulty of Bitcoin is adjusted 2016 blocks, or approximately every two weeks. What the miners have before them now is the current signalling period of 2016 blocks, with six activation epochs set in the period of three months, during which 90% of the blocks have to signal for Taproot activation – meaning, they have to include a signal bit into the mined blocks. If this 90% threshold is reached, the upgrade will be locked in, then activated in November. If miners don’t lock in Taproot, another mechanism can be used to try again.

So far (at 11:05 UTC Monday morning), there are 39 signalling blocks and 254 non-signalling blocks (or 13%). F2Pool, Foundry USA, and SlushPool have signalled, per taproot.watch.

This means that there is no lock-in during the first epoch. “Taproot cannot be locked in within this period,” the tracker states.

Per the Taproot-Activation site, ran by Poolin Vice President Alejandro De La Torre, 12 pools previously said that they’d support for the upgrade – providing the 1-month average hashrate in support of Taproot of 89% as of March 2. According to taproot.watch, Poolin hasn’t signalled yet.

Commenters had quickly started expressing worry upon the Speedy Trial start, with some doubting that locking in on this first signalling period is likely.

Nonetheless, as it’s presumed that those who’ve supported the upgrade this time around will continue signalling, some commenters argue that a certain percentage, is already guaranteed, so to say.

And there are also those who still support UASF (user-activated soft work – the activation of a soft fork initiated by nodes, without having obtained support from a large minority of miners), instead of MASF (miner-activated soft work).

For developer Udi Wertheimer, the bigger issue here is another important component of Taproot: Schnorr, which encodes multiple keys into one. These signatures, he said, are not supported by many of the altcoins, possibly slowing down or weakening adoption.

Meanwhile, others are looking beyond Taproot altogether, listing the potential future/needed upgrades, but also wondering how long those would take to be activated, giving that this one has already taken years of discussion and voting.

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Learn more:
As Bitcoin’s Taproot Nears, Ex-CIA Director’s Paper Raises Privacy Concerns
Bitcoin and Litecoin Move Closer to Their Privacy Improvements
Bitcoin Taproot Upgrade Runs Into Activation Debate


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